Time For Wolves To Reassess Promotion Goal

  

In May, after Wolves missed out on the play-offs by goal difference, there were few around Molineux shedding a tear.

Wolves had over performed and the play-offs would have been a fantastic bonus to an impressive season back in The Championship.

Even still intoxicated from the excitement of a record-winning League One campaign, most agreed a top 10 finish for Wolves would have been a job well done.

We did that finishing 7th above Derby County and Nottingham Forest who had both been tipped for glory 12 months earlier.

This season was meant to be about progression.

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Ahead of this term supporters were filled with hope that a third successful year under Kenny Jackett was forthcoming.

But 12 games in, a lack of consistency of which we have lost five,  has meant a lull has hung over the Molineux like a bad smell – and it refuses to shift.

Talk of promotion now seems desperate even more so when abject displays are seen such as at Derby and at home to Brentford. 

It is why the team, the club, the supporters need reset their outlook on this campaign and reassess the target for this year by scrapping the notion of promotion or talk of it.

Some will say this premature, why wouldn’t they? The clocks haven’t even gone back and we’re writing off our chances of promotion.

But there’s method to what people will say is ‘madness’.

So I’ll explain.

Jackett could not have foreseen the off field dramas he has had to ride even before the leaves began to drop off the trees.

A squad without Bakary Sako was inevitable but a squad without a replacement was not.

Add to this the sale of player of the season Richard Stearman, the Benik Afobe transfer saga, the injury of Nouha Dicko, several outstanding player contracts – oh not to mention we’re up for sale – and it’s easy to see why all contributed to an unsettled feeling around Wolves.

But where blame can be laid at the door of Jackett is the insistence of playing players still wet behind the ears who are sadly being exposed on a weekly basis. Turning his nose up at a much needed wideman in Sammy Ameobi and of course the Ikeme and Martinez conumdrum.

Going back to those young players, if they are to shine they need protecting and, if Jackett is to continue with his faith in young and hungry players, the pressure valve needs to be released so that the likes of Kourtney Hause, Ethan Ebanks-Landell and Jack Price don’t crumble under the expectation of Molineux.

With the club also on the market the transfer policy has now shifted meaning more frustration is expected at a lack of investment in the squad.

Too much has changed since May for the expectation for promotion to be a reasonable goal.

Last season, Jurgen Klopp, then Borussia Dortmund, deployed a similar ‘reassment tactic’ when he announced to the world his side were in a relegation battle.

They had been expected to challenge Bayern Munich for the title but found themselves at bottom of the Bundesliga by Christmas.

“We need stability and we need confidence” he said, sound familiar?

It worked, Dortmund were less than flawless but were able to recover their season and finish in a Europa League place.

Realistically Jackett needs to do something similarly but his stock with Wolves fans isn’t as high as Klopp’s with Borussia.

Sadly, and to my frustration, fans may have to suck it up and accept a season of patience with the young lads and with it another season without top-flight football.

Of course this will come at a cost with Benik Afobe likely to move on if he isn’t guaranteed Premier League football – and who could deny such a talent performing on a high stage.

And then there is the alarming slump in attendances with an average gate now around 19,000 at Molineux which will hit Wolves in the pocket.

There are those who will persistently see a new manager as the option but with two excellent seasons under his belt, Kenny Jackett – however difficult it may be to face in your post match anger – has earned our backing.

Every manager has bad spells and you’ve only to look to Jose Mourinho to see just that.

More importantly who could get more out of this group than the man currently at the helm?

With Middlesbrough ahead of us and then a televised West Midlands derby against in-form Birmingham City I fear more heat will come Wolves way. But should they bring successes patience is still key.

As fans, as a club, as a team, we must realise those hopes for this season that emerged in Spring were from circumstances no-longer available to us.

It would be wise, almost courageous, of us to face that this won’t be a season to celebrate more to one to temper our expectations.

By Adam Thompson

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